Vikings Match Day Preview

10/07/20230

After five matches against sides finishing in the top six in 2022 -23, the Vikings visit Sevenoaks this Saturday to meet a team who like themselves have had a difficult start to the season. The Kent side are one place above the winless Vikings, having beaten Canterbury 23-20 on the opening day, but like their visitors are yet to register a bonus point. Since that victory they’ve lost to Bury St Edmunds, Guernsey, Henley and Old Albanian. “It’s a game both sides will feel they have a realistic chance of winning,” commented Niall Lear. “We’re improving week on week, last week against Barnes, one of the League’s top sides, was the best we’ve played but we never looked like causing an upset.”

The Vikings will be defending an unbeaten record at Sevenoaks. Fixtures between them didn’t begin until 2021-22 and the Vikings came from behind for narrow victories in both matches in Kent. Two years ago Dan Smith scored a try with the game’s penultimate play to earn them a 27-29 victory after being 10 points down with five minutes left, whilst in March it was even more dramatic, Matt Hodgson’s last minute penalty from 40 metres going over off the post after an astonishing run from deep in his half by Charlie Fethney had set up the position.

Fethney’s injury at Henley means he’s unlikely to feature this time and, with Hudson de Lucchi injured last week, James Baldwin may make his debut. Otherwise Niall Lear expects the pack to be similar to the Barnes game, but in the backs Wes McQuire returns so with Tawanda Kandemwa on the other wing they won’t lack pace or finishing skills. Sevenoaks, who finished one above the Vikings in 2022-23 despite winning two games less, look to have a similar squad to last season though they have lost a couple of backs. Goal kicker Ben Adams was the League’s second highest points scorer last year with 219, including 13 tries.

The Raiders, also searching for their first win, play Shelford 2nd XV away.

Paul Morse 041023

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At North Walsham Rugby Club, our 1st XV (Vikings) are playing at National 2 level. Mini and Youth Rugby caters for Under 6s to U18s. Three Senior Men’s teams. Senior Women’s in affiliation with UEA ladies rugby. Four Girls teams Under12s, 14s, 16s and 18s.

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